On to the East

Approaching Buffalo; at least it wasn't blowing 25 on the nose again.

Approaching Buffalo; at least it wasn’t blowing 25 on the nose again.

We left Cleveland and pushed kind of hard to get to Buffalo. The less said about our time on Erie the better; we had unfavorable winds and not-wonderful marina time, and with the exception of beautiful Presque Isle State Park (80 degree water! Quiet anchorage! Lovely!), we were happy to see the back of it.

We did manage to get this beautiful sail in the air outside of Cleveland--for about a half an hour, before the wind returned to it's natural position in our face

We did manage to get this beautiful sail in the air outside of Cleveland–for about a half an hour, before the wind returned to it’s natural position in our face

Boats stacked along the river, Buffalo

Boats stacked along the river, Buffalo

Our time in Buffalo was task-focused: we had to get the mast down, in preparation for the Erie Canal; we had concerns about the multiple fluids leaking from the engine area; we had a serious laundry situation. We also had managed to book up most of August with plans–meeting up with family and friends on both the canal and in NYC–so we were anxious to get going, but unsure how long we’d be held up with boat tasks. Fortunately–finally!–things went our way.

Someone in Buffalo decided it would be a good idea to light up this old grain elevator in our marina; the whole show took about 45 minutes

Someone in Buffalo decided it would be a good idea to light up this old grain elevator in our marina; the whole show took about 45 minutes

Our home in Buffalo was the First Buffalo River Marina, and we can’t say enough good things about them. You probably won’t find them in any cruising guide–they don’t have fuel or a pump-out (which lead to a challenging bathroom situation down the line)–but they were wonderful to work with. Their yard guys were top-notch and on schedule, plus their rates were the cheapest in the area. They contracted with an outstanding diesel mechanic who diagnosed most of our problems as Paranoia, and worked with Michu to get the engine properly aligned. The staff and residents of the marina went out of their way to be helpful, giving us rides to the laundromat and grocery store. After our dispiriting week in Lake Erie, we found Buffalo to be amazing.

Remember, the last time we took down the mast, it was catastrophic; this time, everything was A-OK

Remember, the last time we took down the mast, it was catastrophic; this time, everything was A-OK

Favorite boat in the marina: this little J-22. Huge repair to the other side, as well, right at the chainplates

Favorite boat in the marina: this little J-22. Huge repair to the other side, as well, right at the chainplates

While the boat was being torn apart, the kids and I pulled our typical library move, and explored a bit of the city. We were docked on the outer harbor, but for a dollar, a ferry would bring us across to the free train. We checked out the art deco City Hall and the interesting downtown buildings, and picked up Michu for some wings and beef on weck. Across from the boat, the canal front was a non-stop party, with Zumba classes and live music until late.

View from the stern, across the river

View from the stern, across the river; the strings of lights are on Navy ships

Breaking the law.

Breaking the law.

We finally got on the move Saturday morning, planning to meet up with friends in Lockport. After motoring across the river for a dozen doughnuts from Tim Horton’s (indulgence!), we headed to Black Rock Lock, planning for the ten o’clock opening. Our first lock! We were so excited, and kind of nervous. After failing to get in touch with┬álock master on the VHF (maybe these things are broken? Do we need new hand-held radios?), we looked up their phone number and gave them a call to confirm our transit. Crickets. What the heck? I mean, the lock is in sight, we hustled to get here, why aren’t they answering? We tried the newly-installed loud-hailer. Nope. Oh…they don’t open until 11 on Saturday. Right. So we proceeded to commit a federal crime by tying up to the wall to wait for an hour.

Oh. Right.

Oh. Right.

We need to work on reading signs.

Fortunately, the lock operator declined to arrest us, and we transited our first lock without incident. We descended five whole feet, motored past Tonawanda, and voila–we were in the Erie Canal.

Our aft line handler

Our aft line handler

4 Comments on “On to the East

  1. Great post, Deb! The photos and the accompanying descriptions of the happenings are both fabulous. I pass out the URL to people I barely know as if this blog were the greatest thing on Planet Earth.

    After 57 days, I am sure “everyone” is waiting, with baited breath, for a post from Mr. Maintenance. Is the meeting of such anticipation forthcoming?

    • Mr. Maintenance is…doing maintenance. Internet access is much more difficult than anticipated. Stay tuned!

  2. Dear and Precious Water Puppies,
    This is your Aunt Bee writing. You guys are incredible!!
    I have been reading your blogs and looking at pictures, following your trip. Tried to send email earlier but it Di not work. I hope you will let me know if you of et this.

    I am in awe of all the things you are all learning, how adventurous you are and how resilient. F and T’s broad smiles say it all. I like the picture of their “rooms”. Gotta say that ten-foot wave and gale force wind references are likely to put some grandparents and aunties into permanent insomnia.

    I love the pictures of baking bread or cake!

    I used to livers in Cleveland long ago. The lake and the Cuyahoga River were so polluted it actually caught fire. The environmentalists of the day created a newspaper called The Burning River Review. I didn’t know about the tiny flies!

    I wish I could be on your route or meet you somewhere.
    I am sending you all lots a love, and big hugs!
    Aunt Elizabeth Bee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *